Eleven soccer veterans return

Veteran soccer coach Steve Barker, left, puts the Wildcats through a ball-handling drill during early season practice. - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Veteran soccer coach Steve Barker, left, puts the Wildcats through a ball-handling drill during early season practice.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

In his second season as Oak Harbor High School head soccer coach, Steve Barker has a full roster of experienced players returning to the pitch and he expects the Wildcats to be vastly improved from their 2-13-1 record from 2007.

“We’ve been doing great in practice and our effort is excellent,” Barker said. “The main question is if we have the foot skills improved enough to get us past being a really competitive team and losing tight games.”

Kathy Silvera, Claire Trepanier, Carson McKole, Roni Tomlin, Hope Thompson and Kirsten Roof are the seniors on the team and all of them saw considerable action last year.

Junior returning players are Erin Neilon, Katie Schneider, Maggie Gorman and Ashley Johnson.

Included with the returning players is sophomore Brighton Pruss.

“All my players are wonderful people and good students,” Barker said. “All the things that can bother a team that are extracurricular and out of the vast scope of the soccer team are just not there. We just have to worry about the game and our individual skills.”

Barker said he expects the WesCo North will again have some strong teams this season.

“I think most of the teams either didn’t lose a lot of players or have a large enough pool that they will be able to interchange,” he said. “Everybody we play is going to be a tough team. Some of those teams are going to be slightly more difficult than others.”

Oak Harbor kicks off the season Tuesday, Sept. 9, hosting Monroe in a 7:30 p.m. game at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

“We’re gonna fight ‘em for every inch of that turf,” Barker said.

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